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Is every pathologic liar a psychopath or a sociopath?

Several weeks ago I introduced the idea that lying is the cardinal symptom of sociopathy/psychopathy. I believe that every sociopath/psychopath compulsively lies. Judging from the number of comments to the article, The cardinal sign of sociopathy: Every sociopath ______! you all agree with me. Since every sociopath lies, it is reasonable to ask if we can use lying behavior to help us identify sociopaths. The problem is that from time to time nearly everyone lies for any number of reasons, so lying is a rather non-specific finding in a person. It is instead pathologic lying that characterizes sociopaths and psychopaths.

In a recent paper, Pathological Lying Revisited (J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 33:342—9, 2005), Dr. Charles Dike and colleagues from Yale University discuss pathologic lying. They define pathologic lying as, “falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.” To translate, pathologic liars tell elaborate tales and the motivation for telling these tales is not always financial gain. Pathologic liars lie for pleasure, sometimes even when the truth sounds better. However, lying is by definition an interpersonal process, where one person attempts to impact another. In my opinion, there is always obvious gain in lying in that the end is impacting another person’s view of reality.

In support of the argument that the gain of pathologic lying is impacting another person’s view of reality, some have suggested that the root of pathologic lying is a person’s desire to play the role of the person depicted in the lie. There is a double consciousness in which two forms of life run side by side, the actual and the desired/depicted. In the liar’s mind the fantasy role and real life are not entirely separated. The role becomes the focus of the liar’s consciousness and that is why pathologic liars lie so easily.

Pathologic lying can be found in other conditions besides sociopathy and psychopathy. It has also been described in borderline personality disorder. But remember that this condition has been suggested by some to be very similar to sociopathy. Prominent clinicians have asserted that pathologic lying does not occur outside of psychopathy. In an important paper written in 1942, The psychiatric aspects of the pathological liar (Nerv Child 1:335—50), Dr. Selling said that “obvious mental disease, particularly a diagnosable psychopathic personality of some type” was responsible for pathologic lying.

Lest you now feel confident that you can diagnose sociopathy and/or psychopathy in your pathologic liar, I have to tell you that Dr. Cleckley himself stated that pathologic lying could occur in “normal people.” In a foot note on page 33 of The Mask of Sanity you will find the following quote:

“Such traits can occasionally be found even in wise and reliable people. A highly regarded and respected friend of mine, a doctor of philosophy, recently appointed professor of physics in a small but distinguished college, and the author of several useful and accurate contributions to scientific literature, is the first who comes to mind. This distinguished man has often regaled groups of acquaintances, myself among them, with accounts of working his way through the university by playing professional ice hockey at night, later setting type on a newspaper for several hours, rising before daylight to stoke tugboats on the waterfront, riding thirty-four miles to a high school to teach one subject and thirty-four miles back, as well as keeping house in a three-room apartment shared with six aviators and relieving the janitor of the building one hour during each twenty-four. All these activities were spoken of as being carried out simultaneously and along with full-time work at the university. He described in great detail and with apparent familiarity the duties of these positions. His only studying, he said, was done on the subway en route to his various duties. The same friend once came up from behind while another man and I were commenting on the height of a cliff on which we stood. The hazards of a dive from the position were being idly discussed. The newcomer at once estimated, probably with commendable accuracy, the height, the angle of landing, and all the technicalities of such a dive. He then launched into an astonishing description of a dive he had made in early youth from a bridge 167 feet above the Guadalquiver. One of the students to whom this excellent scholar lectures stated that it is the custom for each succeeding class to tabulate his adventures and their duration in these pseudoreminiscences and there from compute his age. The top figure so far is 169 years. Several classes have bettered 150. The students have great respect for him and confidence in him, as a teacher and as a man. They are particularly devoted to him. Let it be clearly understood that the person discussed in this footnote is not being brought forward as illustrative of the subject of this study. He is no part of a psychopath. He is, in fact, a character whose essential traits lie at the opposite extreme. The reminiscences here ascribed to him are not told boastfully or for the purpose of shielding himself or of gaining any material end. He is strikingly free of arrogance, kind to a remarkable degree, and altogether worthy of his strong reputation as a good and reliable man. His word in any practical matter is to be respected.”

The bolding in the words above is mine. Could Dr. Cleckley himself have missed grandiosity and psychopathy in his friend? I don’t know. Why would a humble person, with no desire to impact others, engage in pathologic lying? Dr. Cleckley says the lying was not boastful, but it does sound like bragging to me.

I think the point Dr. Cleckley made in this footnote is that for him, harm done to others is a defining quality of psychopathy (sociopathy). He knew of no instance where his friend had caused harm to others. The point of harm done is very important to the readers of this blog, many of whom are searching for definitive proof that the person who has done great harm to others financially, emotionally, psychologically and/or spiritually is a sociopath/psychopath. The only definitive proof of psychopathy according to experts like Dr. Hare is a PCL-R score over 30. It is very rare for a victim to have the benefit of an official PCL-R score on a perpetrator.

As I read the scientific literature, I am struck by the fact that many people psychiatrists would consider psychopaths do not in fact score over 30 on the PCL-R. To make matters worse there are many who score 20-29 on the PCL-R who have done great harm. Remember, Dr. Hare initially intended his scale to predict recidivism, it is only recently the scale has been used to define psychopathy.

I am passionate about my believe that the combination of harm done to others and personality attributes be used to define sociopathy/psychopathy. We know that not all unempathetic or callous individuals do harm to others. Furthermore, not all who do harm to others do so because they are callous and unempathetic. It is the combination of harm and personality type that is the real issue.

In conclusion then, if a pathological liar has done great harm to you, s/he is most certainly a sociopath/psychopath.


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64 Comments on "Is every pathologic liar a psychopath or a sociopath?"

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Dear Dr Liane,

I have just joined, and your blog looks first-rate. I came upon it by accident, while looking into…of all things, illegal immigration. I would like to tell you all a story which you may find interesting and relevant, because it concerns the interaction between the husband of one of my closest friends (A Narcissist, I think) and the illegal who seduced him (More likely to be an Sociopath).

This is actually the transcript of a letter I wrote to the NY Times, in response to an Opinion they published in sympathy for illegals. I’ve been helping my friend because…you guessed it: Something very similar happened to ME, about 6 years ago. I don’t expect them to publish it. If anyone reads the Times, they’ll know why.

Response to Opinion Entitled “The Misery Strategy”

The writer of the opinion referenced above says that the country is now on a path of enforcement and punishment, and that this will cause much misery. He is concerned for the plight of the illegal immigrants. But maybe it’s not such a terrible thing to get tough with illegal immigrants.
They are are not all innocents.

Some of the people I know are descendants of those who came here long ago, but most, like me, are first or second-generation Americans, whose forebears arrived within the last few generations. That is the nature of this country. The rest are naturalized Americans, who came with some kind of visa (legally) and eventually achieved permanent status or citizenship. This letter is not about me, or about most immigrants. It’s also not about the people who have come here illegally to escape depravity, or poverty, or a desperate, life-threatening situation in their native land. For them, despite their questionable status, we can hold some sympathy, as fellow human beings.

This letter is about someone who come here intending fraud, order to exploit others, for her own selfish purposes. I would like to tell you this story, and would appreciate your input, or assistance, if you are willing to provide it.

I became aware of this person, a 21-year-old Russian J-1 participant whom I will subsequently call “The J-1” this past July when my friend “Y” found email correspondence between “The J-1” and her own husband. The correspondence was extensive, and included a copy of a lease on a $2200/month apartment which the husband had co-signed. It also included her email address, Social Security number, date of birth, address, and travel arrangements for a vacation in Florida they took
together.

Once confronted, the husband admitted to his affair with “The J-1,” whom he had met while she was working as a waitress in Brighton Beach. He willingly provided more details to “Y,” boasting that his girlfriend had no visa; she had violated it the previous year when she failed to showed up for her work assignment as counselor at a summer camp. He boasted that “she is too beautiful to be a waitress,” and that she was presently working at the mens club, “Scores” as a stripper. Although my friend begged him, he refused to end the affair. She was needless to say, quite despondent and asked for my assistance in having “The J-1” deported.

I did some investigation, and found the online transcript of a chat session that “The J-1” had had with an American in Tacoma, Washington in the spring of 2006, before she had left Russia. From the chat I saw that the man’s name was “B” and his email address was evident as well, but more importantly it stated quite clearly, in her own words her definite intention to come here in violation of the terms of the J-1 Visa she
had recently obtained.

I was able to contact “B,” who was eager to be of assistance. He has said that he broke contact with “The J-1” after only 3 weeks of orrespondence. He sensed she was an opportunistic con artist when she callously referred to her several other boyfriends. She did in fact come to NYC from Russia in late April or May of 2006. Her plaintive emails and teary phone calls to him stopped, he says, after several weeks. Evidently, it was at that point that she met and seduced my friend’s
husband.

Since I found out about this matter I have been on a quest to have “The J-1” removed from the USA. She continues to manipulate the husband, who says that he’d like to break away but that “she cries and cries whenever I try to leave her.” He has said that she has attempted to change her status to F-1 but that this was refused, since she had violated the terms of her J-1 Visa.

I enlisted the aid of a net-savvy individual, who sent emails and succeeded in having her fired from “Scores” as soon as they were apprised of her illegal status. The husband bragged that this would be no problem; she could work anywhere. The other strip clubs in NYC were emailed as well, but they have not been interested, and seem to have interpreted the warnings as “spam.”

What happened next was almost unbelievable. “The J-1” found out about this intervention and in retaliation sent a threatening email to my friend. Despite her illegal status, “The J-1” seems to believe that she can do whatever she wants, with impunity.

With some help, I have been going through the usual channels of contacting ICE, the Compliance Unit of the Department of State, and my local congressman. They have all been interested in the case, and have asked for more information. At this point, it seems likely that “The J-1” will eventually be deported. Her grandiosity is obvious. Although she has had considerable facial surgery in the past few years, she’s not keeping a particularly low profile.

There are a number of important points that need to be emphasized: “The J-1” obtained her visa through deception, intending to violate it. Also, even if she had worked in the camp as scheduled would by now be in overstay since a J-1 is Non-Immigrant, non-renewable, and of limited duration and hers ended in 10/06. She came here out of greed, and a desire for adventure, and seems fond of making mischief with married men. She has made serious threats against “Y,” who is a US citizen.
She is not allowed to live or work in the USA. I am told that it is also illegal for anyone to hire her, but she at least had a respectable position as a waitress when she met my friend’s husband. She prefers to work in the shadowy world of men’s strip clubs. You probably realize that,
apart from topless or nude dancing, what goes on in these clubs is prostitution. I have seen the online forums published by these clubs; the dancers speak frankly about “giving a BJ” and going to “the VIP Room,’ where a customer can be alone with the dancer for 1/2 hour or more. By and large, the clubs seem disinterested in the legal status of their employees. They hire the dancers as contractual workers, and no one seems to be paying their taxes, either. I wish I had the guts to take on this shadowy world, but I’m not really a reformer with grandiose aspirations. I’m simply trying to help out my friend.

I don’t think that my friend’s marriage can be saved, nor should it be. She has thrown her husband out of the house, more or less, but has allowed him to keep most of his possessions there. They have a four-year old son, whom he genuinely adores. He calls her every day, or several times a day, he seems to have retained at least some affection for his wife, or for the life they had, and seems not to want to move into the apartment that he has rented for “The J-1.” Or perhaps moving in would cramp her style. Sometimes he says that she’s just a plaything; at other times he says he loves her more than he ever loved “Y,” whom he has known since they were both about 15 years old. [It was this particular comment, she says, that made her tell him to leave]. He says that he doesn’t want to leave his family for at least a year, for the sake of the child. This guy seems confused, and the situation is a mess, but it seems obvious that he could think more clearly about whether he does or doesn’t want to stay in the marriage if the ill-intentioned “J-1” were not in the picture.

It certainly isn’t likely that “The J-1” will ever be given legal status, nor should she be. Admittedly, I am very close to the situation, but it is virtually impossible to feel sympathy for the plight of “The J-1,” who was a college student living with her parents in Ulyanova when she decided it would be fun to come to the USA and marry an American. She was not underprivileged, or desperate. She owned a computer, which most people in Russia are too impoverished to purchase. This woman is simply depraved, and she has brought her depravity here to New York City.

That last statement must have sounded too harsh, but it isn’t. I went to see where she lives, a building up on 10th Avenue, half a block from Scores. At the taxi stand on the corner, several of the drivers I questioned stated that they knew that she was a stripper, as she has bragged about working at Scores, Scandals and Flash Dancers. They also said that she was a hooker, too, and once inside their cabs offered to “do anything you want” for $100. I don’t know if this is true; cab drivers have been known to confabulate. What is clear to me is that the USA doesn’t need any extra hookers, and it doesn’t need more persons of her questionable legal and moral status. You may believe that affairs of the heart that don’t involve me are none of my business. I feel that this
is my business, and should be everyone’s business. This woman doesn’t deserve the benefits that life in the USA can provide. Whether or not she is actually a prostitute, she is certainly an unsavory character, and is certainly a public nuisance.

I could send you a copy of the threatening email she sent to my friend. It’s available, if you want it. What you really need to know at this point is that sometimes the immigrant, or would-be immigrant, cannot be an object of sympathy, by any stretch of the imagination.

…………….

Update: My friend, who is still very young, is a smart girl…! She has given the Narcissistic Husband a time frame of when he has to move out, and has actually started dating. I wish I had had that kind of sense when I was her age.

Cheers,
Flopsy

Note: I wanted to post this as a comment to the “Narcissist vs. Sociopath” thread on May 11, but somehow the posting didn’t “take.” Please feel free to move it.

I am never suprised to learn the depth and breadth of psycopaths/narcissists lying.

But what I don’t understand- is why we believe them and mourn them?

It makes me physically sick with longing.

Dear Dr. Liane:

I appreciate your feedback.

I’m not a professional of any kind, but I think it’s probably hard to know just what this man is. He professes to love his son, and tells his wife brutally that he never loved her the way he loves “The J-1,” and that he no longer loves her. Maybe he’s just a sadist? He certainly is a manipulative liar. My friend told me today that now that he realizes she is truly intent on kicking him out, he says he will not remove his possessions, and says she’ll have to take him to court to get him out. This is truly moronic! All she has to do is put his stuff in boxes outside the door, and change the locks. She is finally going to go to a lawyer next week. She is simply shocked at how ugly things have gotten. I’m not shocked at all, of course. This is truly an old, old story.

BTW I don’t think she is really ready for dating in a serious way. But it’s empowering for her to know that the option is there. Her parents give her lots of help with the child. And her nursing job is actually quite flexible; nurses have a great union, and she’s able to take time off whenever she needs to. She went on ONE date, actually, which she enjoyed. This gave her a needed boost. Otherwise, she might have actually thought of taking the s(&^%#@d back. The way I look at it, “The J-1” did her a favor, in a way. Apparently, the husband had been fooling around on her the whole time they were married, and probably even before. He told my friend that “The J-1” (SURELY a sociopath) makes him not want to cheat. My friend doesn’t want a husband with such poor impulse control, whatever his clinical diagnosis might be. Today he told her that he was no longer seeing “The J-1.” All I can say is: What a f&^%$#g liar this guy is…! No one should believe anything he says. Isn’t that the very definition of a Narcissist, that they think it’s just fine to lie? He also said that she knew “he was a bad guy” before they got married, and that since she married him the whole thing is all her fault (whatever that means). Honestly, this guy is such an idiot,if I were married to him, I think his life would be in danger, lol.

I don’t think it’s such a bad idea for her to go out on dates before she’s actually “ready.” If I know this girl, there will be a long stretch of time before she actually sleeps with another man or considers him a serious prospect. She’s just getting her feet wet. And considering what she had her feet in before…

Cheers,
Flopsy

Having been in a relationship with a sociopath for 17 years, I can agree 100% that a Narcissistic sociopath is indeed a pathological liar. Lying both to her children and me was a daily routine. Strange, she would lie even when the truth was just as good. Having been with this person, the children and I just accepted this fact about her and to “stop” a disagreement (walking on eggshells) with her before it was started would simply just agree with her and tell her “What ever”. Living with a pathological liar sociopath is learning that you will never win a fight. And that your opinion doesn’t mean a thing. This person having walk out of her children’s life some 16 months ago, also believed that she had a relationship with the children and I. Even after telling her that both the children and I want nothing to do with her any longer is still trying to make contact with us. That we have been in “no contact” for those 16 months. It’s so sad but these people live in their own fantasy and reality is unknown to them. Maybe that’s why they lied so much. Not knowing the truth from their own lies”

Excellent Post!

The points in the third paragraph are especially poignant!

I detected such a process in which the pathological liar/sociopath was lying and then believing her lie and THEN “forcing” this ruse upon me as if it were reality, the truth!

What tipped me off was when she alluded to me having committed violent actions when all I had done, which was kiss her, was actually ignored. I sensed that there was some sort of “psychotic process” involved but those close to me believe that she knew EXACTLY what she was doing ALL of the time.

By internalizing her lies and forcing herself to believe her own lies, she assumed the role and made a forceful presentation that was difficult to combat–it made it difficult for me to discern what was really going on and that led to me questioning what had really happened.

The undermining of my self-confidence in my presence and grounding in reality seemed to be part of her method to wear me down and out. I sensed at one time that she was going to wear me down, out and harm me.

After a week of what seemed repeating the same nonsensical argument everyday and often taking 2 to 4 hours to go through the entire matter and re-resolve it each day, each time, I finally told her that I couldn’t handle it anymore, that repeating the same discussion over and over after taking so much to resolve it previously was wearing down and that it was going to hurt me [perhaps exhaust me] and that she was going to harm me.

So, I told her to get out. It was the only time I ordered her to leave. And my ultimatum worked, or so it seemed–momentarily.

Rather than get out, she changed her composure COMPLETELY and then said to me matter of factly: ‘Honey, I know the only reason you’re saying that is because it’s the only way you can get through to me and no matter what you are doing to me it’s not even one-tenth of what I am doing to you.’

I have learned during my life that chronic lying is a BIG red flag in a person regardless of the label. People sometimes tell lies for a variety of reasons that can seem harmless. There are the social lies one tells to protect privacy or avoid embarrassment. Usually the person doing this feels cornered about something personal and chooses that option on the spur of the moment. He may not be comfortable lying, but does it on occasion for some reason his conscience can live with.

I think social lies that are told to inflate ones social standing, impress others, and play games with someone’s innocent, vulnerable personality are essentially deceitful and dishonest. IMO, anytime someone introduces dishonesty into a relationship, and that dishonesty is ongoing, it is harmful. It damages and harms the liar, it is disrespectful and demeaning to his friends, and it undermines a basic trust in all his dealings with others. Everything and everybody targeted by the liar becomes devalued. Therein lies the harm.

Lying should not be necessary. When someone lies to create a false image of himself in the mind of the other, I think something is wrong with that person’s sense of self. It’s my life observation that whatever prompts the need to lie will spill over into other areas of behavior as well. There will be other eccentric things going on. Chronic lying exposes a lack of integrity, a damaged sense of self, and a false conscience.

“Doing harm to others.”……… In some instances, defining what creates harm to others can be understood and agreed upon objectively. An example might be any violation of the law. Such actions harm the fabric of society generally and can cause devastating harm to particular individuals.

Then, there are more subjective experiences of being or feeling harmed that are harder to weigh and judge. Sometimes these harmful actions are in the form of lies both subtle and obvious. IMO, Dr. Checkley missed it! Chronic lying, pathological lying, lying for fun, all add up to trouble. I think pathological liars are at the very least sociopaths – no conscience – and we know where that can lead.

I read Scott Peck’s “People Of The Lie” years ago. I don’t remember if he addressed this question.

Just when I was about to post a similar question, I find this thread…
(definitely spending way too much time on this darn computer!)

My question was going to be: I know that every sociopath is a con-artist, but does it necessarily follow that all con-artists are sociopaths? I’ve got the most recent ex-husband sussed out – undoubtedly a spath of the first degree. Still processing thoughts about the previous husband to him though. A liar and a cheat for sure. A thief as well. A pervert. A drugger of unsuspecting women (myself included – he stole his mother’s prescription sleeping meds – Rohynol). Not such a smooth talker or a charmer though and he didn’t brag about himself – ever. There were the usual kind-deeds cover-ups, like mowing the lawns for the elderly neighbours, etc. but he never openly boasted.

A spath, or not a spath?

There were several threatening telephone calls and letters for the first year or so after he left, plus some yukky slander doing the rounds about me (crazy, bunny-boiler, sexually perverted – you name it, I was all that and more), but then nothing in the past 14 years.

So – a spath, or not a spath???

Dear Aussiegirl,

Spath or not an spath?

To answer that I say, PROBABLY HIGH IN S-PATH TRAITS, but in fact, IT DOES NOT MATTER IF HE IS OR AIN’T—he is TOXIC. HE IS NOT ONE YOU WANT TO BE MARRIED TO or in a relationshit with.

Pervert? You don’t want hijm. Liar–do you want that? Of course not. Thief? Not if you are smart. Drugger? Might kill you next time with an over dose!

The fact that he never overtly boasted and did “good deeds” for his elderly neighbors WHEN HE WAS NOT LYING, PERVERTING, OR DRUGGING SOMEONE, OR STEALING….my gosh, he was SUCH a GREAT GUY when he wasn’t doing mean, dangerous and illegal acts.

NO ONE does illegal or immoral or bad acts 24/7-365. They take a break now and then and even might “act nice” once in a while, but even if the ONLY ROB A BANK SAY once a year, do you want ANY PART of them? Of course not.

So ultimately, it isn’t even about are they or ain’t they psychopaths, it is ARE THEY GOOD FOR ME OR NOT? Are they TOXIC or not? Are they HONEST or not? If they are not good for you, if they are not HONEST then you do not need them in your life!

Some of them BTW will stalk you for life, others will dump you and never return, but many come back like bad pennies and turn up again when they need more supply.

Charles Dike is a great researcher of lying. This as a fantastic thread that is worth a re-read.

All sociopaths are liars, but are all liars spaths???

Hugs

Athena

great article. My only problem with the conclusion is that you have to wait for the liar to do great harm to you before you can call him a spath.

Anyone who read Cleckley’s book would have to agree that he is a very intelligent man — who was REPEATEDLY taken in by spaths. His own stories attest to that. Though he described their behavior perfectly, he was flumoxed as to why the spaths did what they did.

The quote in the article about the wise professor, could easily have been talking about my ex-spath with one of his masks. He didn’t reveal his evil to everyone, only to other evil people and then of course to some of his victims. But I know that other victims never knew what hit them. They died thinking he was the most wonderful person, so wise and capable, entertaining and the best friend they’ve ever had. He loves animals too, you know, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s got that heart of gold under a tough exterior… a regular hero.

right.
😯

IMO, all liars are deeply troubled in some way. The danger is too great to risk underestimating them.

SkyYou said all liars are deeply troubled. I believe that.

I used to think the lying was mostly about manipulating me. It was about control.

I realize now that le lies to project the reality he wishes were true. Its a fantasy because his life, and he, is empty. Pathetic.

And i realize now that sometimes he believes his own lies. How could somebody not? This means he has a deeply flawed view of reality.

How pathetic.

Athena

The only time I saw the ex spath get agitated was when someone didn’t believe his lies. He didn’t get nervous or anxious about anything but he would act slightly different when I didn’t buy into the bull honkey. It was not really noticable unless you knew him and could evaluate his body language.

The liespotters web page was more helpful to me than your average “How to Tell If Someone is Lying” website because it talked about the “tell”. The small indication that the person is lying, the ex spath had a smirk which was the “tell” and proof to me that he experienced satisfaction from lying.

It is official, my therapist said he is a sociopath. It’s nice to be validated.

Ahhhhh yes, Hopeforjoy…..Duper’s delight. The smirk.

here’s an example of a self-admitted spath whom people describe as:
A married former civil servant, those who knew him described him as well-educated, articulate and sociable.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2168824/Im-everyday-psychopath-Murderer-tricked-way-pensioners-home-showing-Age-UK-charity-leaflets-bludgeoned-death-jailed-life.html#ixzz1zilmPLXd

How many of our spaths pass for normal? or even exceptional?

The only way to know if someone is a spath is to tell them, “I love you.” that’s when they reveal themselves.

Hi Athena, Hi Hope, Hi Kim!

Skylar (et al), I can’t speak to whether or not all pathological liars are sociopaths. I agree with OxD that, at the very least, they’re troubled.

The exspath appears to be a mild-mannered, civil, intelligent, and “normal” person. What he truly is would blow anyone’s mind away if they knew the facts of the situation. And, he is quite a pathological liar and uses “omission” as a very useful tool: if he didn’t SPEAK a lie and only witheld information, then he’s not really a liar.

pfffft……..I wish people didn’t feel the need to lie, but sometimes they do. Those who are pathological in their lies are useless.

Yes, my expath used omission as an important tool. He hides, actually, and changes the subject, and speaks very little. That way he can’t be held accountable to what he says.

Once I told him I thought he was a compulsive liar, and I asked him to stop. LOL! As if he would say, “oh, jeepers, she’s right, I will stop.”. LOL! I accused him of lying to me about his where-abouts. He WAS lying. So then, he was so agitated that I caught him in a lie that he jumped on a plane and flew all the way across the country so he could “PROVE” to me that he was actually where he said he was.

Oh my god. Stupid.

Athena

It’s an interesting question. I regularly check posts at a forum for people seeking help as they suspect their partner is a compulsive liar. Chances are VERY high that their partner is a sociopath, not just a compulsive liar who lives in fantasy land.

And it has made me consider how much the lies create a fog for the other. The victim gets so wrapped up in trying to find out the lies, confronting the sociopath with the lies, and categorizing the type of lies that the victim cannot see the forest through the trees anymore. All they are seeing are lies after lies, hoping to get the truth out of the spath (even if they already know the truth), and thereby avoiding to recognize the actions the lies are trying to cover up. The victims then often go looking for a treatment for the lying, which is but a symptom, and therefore pretty useless and beside point.

An example, victims would say “he/she lies about stupid, silly stuff, then there are the party lies, the financial lies and then there are the other woman lies”, instead of saying, “He lies, boasts, parties, gets us in debt and cheats”. Ultimately I think this is how the lies serve the liar – to get the victim so focused on the lying aspect, instead of the harmful actions.

I tend to think that most liars are spaths, but can’t be sure because I’ve read, on the internet, people who lament being compulsive liars. Of course, they could be lying about their regrets…
but anyway, I hope to be able to come to some conclusion, so I googled: “I lie about stupid stuff”

Sure enough, there’s a forum for that!
http://www.psychforums.com/compulsive-lying/topic7278.html

I’m in the middle of a project and can’t spend too much time on reading it, but I thought I’d see if anybody else can glean some insight from the discussion between compulsive liars. Keep in mind that they might be lying, or they might be suffering from cog/diss as well. Take what you read there with an enormous grain of salt!

And you might need a margarita to go with that.
😀

Okay…..this might be somewhat off-topic, but I’m watching “Night Of The Hunter,” as I type this. Anyone who hasn’t seen it really should, though it might be triggering.

It’s a MUCH older movie with a very young (and, handsome) Robert Mitchum who plays the role of a preacher who tracks down the widow of a fellow prison inmate who was executed. Mitchum lovebombs the entire town and the widow (played by a beautiful Shelly Winters) so that he can locate money that Winters’ deceased husband had stolen.

This movie is packed with some really skeevy stuff – the way that Mitchum’s character works over EVERYONE by outright lies and manipulations. OMIGOSH…….

Yah….lying and sociopathy go together like popcorn and butter.

Oh yes, Truthspeak, lies and deceptions and psychopaths and/or sociopaths DO go together like popcorn and butter or cottage cheese and pineapples; or, vodka and orange juice. You can’t have one without the other. I suppose you could, but, when it comes to “THEM” you can’t have one without the other.

I saw that movie you are talking about and yes, Mitchum played the perfect PSYCHOPATH in that movie. Absolutely. That was a great movie and it depicts the way things really are with ‘misfit’ human beings.

Happy evening to you Truth…don’t let it bother ya….
We are stronger and wiser.

Dupey

Sky,

Re the forum/support group for liars. Managed to read three posts before feeling the need to vomit.

These people had a “terrible childhood”

Aw that’s ok then. WTF?

{HICCUP!} Did someone say margarita?

Strongawoman, I don’t know a single human being out there that did not have some sort of issues during their childhood. Some had horrible experiences, others not so much. But, what remains consistent as far as I can tell is that the storytelling of spaths is SO elaborate.

The first exspath made claims that he had to “run away” from his mother that had moved to an adjacent country because she was “crazy.” Well, she may have been DRIVEN nuts by an extraordinarily abusive husband.

The second exspath didn’t talk so much about his childhood, but he wasn’t raised by his parents – he spent the majority of his time at his grandparents’ home instead of his parents’ house.

Pity seems to be the #1 ploy, and loveboming the companion to pity. BLEAH……yeah, everyone’s had some pitiful experiences in their lives – everyone. But, really….

Dupey….maragita? I’ll take 2 fingers of Jack Daniels, neat. LOLOLOL!!!!

And, what’s with the outrageous lies? I mean, the stories that are so outrageous that they’re questionable?!

“I worked for the CIA,” or, “I’m a decorated combat Veteran,” or, “I’m a recording artist,” or…….jayzus, let’s put them ALL out there – the one-liners and outrageous claims! WHY do they invent such outrageous claims?

If I were ever to even consider dating someone, again, I’d do a thorough background check – criminal, civil, AND military. Sound harsh? Nope – not in MY world!

Brightest truthful blessings!!!! 😀

Strongawoman,
My point in posting the link to the conversation between liars, is that there are some who want to quit lying. Spaths, on the other hand, have no intention of quitting their lies. That would be like quitting breathing for a spath.

So the question is, do they lie differently? Do they lie for different reasons? How can we discriminate between the two types of liars?

I remember being mortified by the lies my spath was telling a salesman. When the salesman walked away to fetch the merchandise, I whispered, “Spath, you don’t have to lie ALL the time, sometimes the truth is OK.”

Spath seemed to think about it for a second, then responded, “Oh, OK.”

So there are some things we can know.
First, I’m pretty sure all liars have low self-esteem. Even if the lie is just about the weather, the lying HABIT originated from low self-esteem. It made them feel better to lie about themselves.
Second, I felt mortified just being in the presence of the lie, yet liars don’t seem to feel any shame whatsoever about being caught lying. Granted, some will rage at you if you accuse them of lying, but that’s just more manipulation. So whatever is missing in a liar is similar to what’s missing in a spath: the ability to feel shame.

I don’t believe that spaths don’t HAVE shame. I think that they have bypassed, unfelt shame.

From a website on sex addiction, I read that sex addicts are actually addicted to shame. Their ability to “numb” the prefrontal cortex when doing shameful behavior, becomes addicting and then they desire to be shamed even more, since they feel the opposite of shame. They feel narcissism.

Maybe lies have the same effect?

I agree with all the comments made about liars. Mine had it all – the terrible childhood where he was treated sadistically by his stepfather and beat on almost a daily basis. How he left home at 16 and lived in the YMCA while he finished high school while working at McDonalds. How his natural father had tried to kill his when he was a baby by bashing his head into a wall. The real father was an alcoholic who killed himself. After high school he went in the Navy and became a Corman (?). Got married to his first wife who’s mother was a therapist. Had two children but never cared enough to contact them after the divorce. I’m sure mommy-in-law saw right through him and convinced her daughter to run.

All of this was meant to envoke pity at his “poor” childhood and to explain some of his bad habits.

He also lied a lot by omission. It would have been easy for him to tell me he was renting a house for him and his girlfriend since I had told him I thought he was dating someone and since I only wanted to be friends it didn’t matter. But no! He lets me find out through his real estate agent. What a coward. I’m going to add that to my list of “why I hate my spath”

I think lies of omission are just as bad and hurtful as a down and out lie! Hang them all from the flag post!

Stormy…..flag post? How about a good ‘ole oak tree? (snort, harrumph)

Pathological lying……hmmmmm. First of all, the adverb, “pathological”, marks this kind of lying as abnormal, which furthar marks some, other kinds of lying as ok.
Well, maybe not ok, but normal. Anyone who asserts they have never told a lie, is a liar, IMO. Does that make lying ok? No. Just human. But what distinguishes a human frailty from a pathology?
If a liar is lying to cover up a mis deed, that is a red flag. If a liar is lying to protect his image of, all around good guy, that’s a red flag. If a liar, is lying in an attempt to produce an image of himself, that isn’tcongurnt with who he truley is, that’s a red flag.
I think I get your point, Skylar.
If I judge myself as ok, just the way I am, and believe that other people will also judge me to be ok, just the way I am, I won’t need to fabricate a false self, or an image.
Yeah, all that is shame based. Maybe, forgivable, but still, hurtful to others, and dishonest. Then, there are the liars that set out to con. They are deliberately duping in an effort to take from others. Is that shame-based? Maybe, but it’s still evil,
“Adult children of alcoholics lie, when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.” One of the symptoms, of being raised in an alcoholic home. Are all children raised in alcoholic homes, psychopaths? No. But they certainly have some issues.
It goes back, again to the discussion we had about the scandalon…that thing we trip over, because of our weakness….not intending to fuck up, but fucking up, none the less.
We all want to get our needs met. If I tell you I’m not a lowly waitress at a diner, but an aging film star, or that I have a Ph.D in rocket science…..will you love me? Will I love me? If you love me, will that make me ok?
I don’t know, for sure, what I’m getting at. Certainly not saying we should pity the liars, and some liars are just pure evil.

Kim..
When I was a teenager I lied about who I was because I was so ashamed of who I was. Reality is I didnt have a clue who I was. I was so used to covering up the truth about my childhood with lie’s because the truth was to hard to bare. I mean who want’s to tell the truth when it is so ugly?
So, now I am being true to myself and what you see is who I am, flaw’s wart’s and all. I never conned anyone out of a thing. I never set out to hurt someone with a lie. All I ever wanted was to be loved by people that couldnt or wouldnt. So to thyne ownself be true.

Kim & Hens, I’ve told lies of all sorts! REALLY BAD ONES, too….but, once I understood the ramifications of what I’d done and how my actions had impacted people that I didn’t even know (let alone my own family), I stood accountable and have endeavored to avoid lying, since.

Now, that’s not to say that I still don’t lie – oh, yes I do. A student may ask, “Is this a good painting?” I do not tear that person’s efforts apart by telling them that another artistic expression should be considered. I tell that person that I like their use of form, shadow, or something….”It’s a great effort!” Is that a lie? Well, if we get down to brass tacks, it is, because I did not respond with, “That is the most hideous thing I’ve seen, and you have no business trying to paint.”

Today, I don’t lie about things that have to do with my character flaws, foibles, mistakes, and credentials.

Hens, very well put: “I was so used to covering up the truth about my childhood with lie’s because the truth was to hard to bare. I mean who want’s to tell the truth when it is so ugly? So, now I am being true to myself and what you see is who I am, flaw’s wart’s and all.” Shame-core, here, too. Now that I know what it is, I can look at it square in its ugly face and say, “Yeah….I’m not perfect. Sue me.”

Brightest blessings

Truthspeak 🙂

We’ve all lied….and telling someone their painting is “interesting” when you’d rather say “hideous” is not a bad thing…or telling someone their dress is nice when you don’t like it is a “social lie” and I don’t think is a bad thing at all. It is to save someone’s feelings. That is not a bad thing at all. It is TACT.

To tell a story that is meant to mislead someone or conceal a truth that they NEED TO KNOW AND HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW….that’s a horse of a different color. And it doesn’t in my opinion make any difference if it is done by withholding information or by words that are false. It is is meant to mislead someone then it is a LIE.

One lie doesn’t make a person a “pathological” liar, and even two lies don’t….it is when lying is a way of life, when conning is part of their lying behavior. That kind of person is generally a psychopath in my opinion. Or at the very least untrustworthy and I don’t want to deal with people I can’t trust.

DarwinsMom

I think your post, above, was very insightful. Yes, the victims are shocked by the lies, and try to sort them out, rather than say, “BAD NEWS” and get the hell away.

I spent sooooo much time digging into the reality of my spath – this lie, that lie, holy shit another lie…thinking this little piece is true, or that little piece is true, but it AIN’T.

The ENTIRE MAN IS A LIE.

Ugh. Gross.

Athena

Sky,

Interesting concept….the spath lies in a way to feel superior. It is without shame…..bypassed that emotion which prevents a human being perpetrating evil upon another.

My ex hated liars. Pure projection. He lied with aplomb. What is it Truthy says? It’s “opposite day” in spath land.

I understand what you said re compulsive liars who think they have to make their life more interesting. Serious lack of self esteem. Ye I’ve done that. Er, when I was a kid!!! I’ve exaggerated the truth.

But to say oh I have a problem with lying and I need a forum to support me cos I can’t help it. Nah. Not buying that I’m afraid.

Tell the TRUTH. It’s as simple as that. Its a habit yes. It’s not a compulsive habit. IMO anyway.

Liars! Get a grip. Get a life. Or get a big kick up the arse from the rest of society. That’s what I say. 😆

“From a website on sex addiction, I read that sex addicts are actually addicted to shame. Their ability to “numb” the prefrontal cortex when doing shameful behavior, becomes addicting and then they desire to be shamed even more, since they feel the opposite of shame. They feel narcissism.

Maybe lies have the same effect?”

Skylar;

There must be something to this. For example, my x-spath used the same profile name on a serious dating site and various porn ones. Thus, anyone googling his profile name would find online videos he posted of himself masturbating (and trust me, he is not much of a porn start) plus learn about his tastes unsafe and rough sex.

I was embarrassed when found this stuff, yet he obviously is not.

He most active online profile is a complete lie — age is younger, says he lives in a very affluent neighborhood, he even lies about his male endowment, or lack thereof, should I say? Yet he says he is “looking for somebody who is good for me…”

How can anyone expect to find somebody good for them with a profile based upon lies?

BBE

It’s just a pile of shit, isn’t it? They hurt themselves, and others, on purpose.

By the way, I ran across the song by the Who. Is that how you ended up with your handle?

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/w/who/behind+blue+eyes_20146515.html/

Athena

BBE:

And what is his (or anyone like him) definition of “somebody who is good for me?” I can guarantee you it’s not someone who is considerate, genuine, kind and not a liar. It’s probably someone just like him who he is really looking for because I feel the spaths with their shame don’t feel like they deserve someone good…they think they deserve abuse. They shun someone good…

That’s one of the best songs ever…we’ve talked about it on here many times. You must not have been around during those times, Athena…

Louise, apparently not! When I heard it on my ipod I about fell out of my chair. Very fitting!

callmeathena;

I choose “behind_blue_eyes” indirectly. First, it was on article the “sociopathic stare” that first made me think I was involved with one. Even the night I met him it was evident, as I saw him staring about me from across the room. However, I did not understand the significance.

Since both our eyes are blue, I was thinking about a name containing blue. While I had always liked the song “Behind Blue Eyes,” it did not realize until I started researching sociopaths did I realize the song is mostly like about one, hence the name.

“And what is his (or anyone like him) definition of “somebody who is good for me?” I can guarantee you it’s not someone who is considerate, genuine, kind and not a liar.”

Louise;

Well, if you really want to attract “somebody good for me,” perhaps a smart way to start is with the truth. I was certainly ready to accept some of his truths: that he worked in a fairly notorious profession for a gay man (flight attendant), that he did not have a great childhood, like most gay men over 30 probably had a bit of baggage and that he was starting to show his age….

Of course, that was just the tip of the iceberg. As Skylar points out, sociopaths always throw in some truths to distract you from deep truths, the basis of their shame, his being that not only is he an aging gay flight attendant, but an HIV+ one as well.

Interestingly, to the best of my knowledge, he is only very active on either mainly American or International web sites, not domestic UK ones. Why? He travels for a living and while away from the UK, he can lie as much as he wants.

So he creates a profile based on who he wishes he was (expensive Kensington address younger, taller, photoshopped pictures, well endowded…) instead of who he really is. The odd thing is, he does not need to lie. He actually is charming, intelligent, not bad for 38…

However, besides hiding that he is HIV, is suspect there is more baggage and this is the real reason why he lies…

BBE

Well its a good name.

My spath too had a lot in his favor. Looks, intelligence and wealth. But he lied about everything. I couldnt understand it. Lied and lied. No matter what compliments and assurances i gave him, he kept lying.

I was shocked at the extent of his early lies. I thought he would dtop if i complimented him. Then i realized the lies werent about me. They were about him. And it wasnt just about x or y or z. He IS a lie. I think thats the difference between white liars “those pants look fine on you” vs spaths.

I find it so amazing how much and how long i have been grieving this.
I used to go running back to him wanting him to fix it and make it better. But he cant. So now i am learning that i can only grieve who he is, moreso than what he has done.

Sad.

callmeathena;

Anyone involved with a sociopath wants to be the Luke Skywalker who sees the “good” in Darth Vader and by not giving up, “saves” him.

That is pure Hollywood. In reality, Darth Vader would have killed Luke Skywalker, Oxdrover’s situation in reverse.

Yeah, the BBE song is my spath to a “T.” Listen to those words and that’s mine…blue eyes and all.

I think their need to lie is just horrible. I came from a very dysfunctional family and I’m not a liar. Actually, I tell the truth to my own detriment. The OW is a HUGE liar. She always said how poor she was growing up. Maybe that’s why she lies…I’m guessing it started in childhood…because of being poor, maybe she felt like she had to lie to her teachers or something at school…who knows. I just try to grasp at anything as to why they lie the way they do. I just don’t get it. If I was a liar like that, I would be so scared all the time…afraid that I was going to get found out. Who wants to live like that? If you tell the truth, there is nothing to hide. I would hate to live their lives. They also are very good at avoiding and hiding when they don’t want to deal with something. Avoidants big time. And giving the silent treatment. I hate both of those tactics…makes the victim of it feel so helpless.

“I think their need to lie is just horrible. I came from a very dysfunctional family and I’m not a liar…”

To this day, my head spins when I think about the honest way I handled my possible HIV infection, while at the same time he was not honest about his.

In retrospect, he never asked me about by test results but this is also part of their game, what they don’t talk about is part of the mask…

BBE

Yes I agree. Somebody earlier in this thread posted the same things. Lies of ommission are just as bad. (sp).

Athena

But they sometimes slip. For example, the night I met the x-spath, I told him of all my health problems. When I asked about his health status, he said everything was OK except for high triglycerides, which struck me as odd for somebody slim and reality young.

At the time, I did not realize that such is a very common symptom of HIV medication. Today, if a met a guy and he told me the say, I would pointed ask him if was a side effect of medications.

I have an eerie story that happened last month that I will post tomorrow. At least is shows I again have learned something here…

BBE:

Exactly. You have to also look at what they “don’t” talk about as part of the mask…it’s the avoidance.

Can’t wait to hear your story.

Lies of omission are just huge with ppaths/spaths…and lying by omission is the same as a lie.

“IT” and I have had this go-around, many times, in the past. How omission is as filthy as lying…

You have to listen to all the things they DONT say as much as you listen to the things they do. The truth is in the things they don’t say more than it is in the things they do say. In the omission lays the real truths, I have found.

All those things they don’t want you to know because if you find out, you won’t want them anymore and then what would they do? They would have no entertainment nor the bolstering of their ego by ‘getting one over’ – how powerful that makes them feel. That’s why they do it. For the personal rush it gives them and no other reason. They are addicted to the ‘control’ and ‘dominance’.

The rush of screwing with someone elses life and turning it upside down without conscience nor regret.

You are absolutely right, Louise: You have to look at what they DONT say…that’s where the truth is.

Dupey

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